Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley pummeled rival Sen. Bernie Sanders during Tuesday’s primary debate over what they argued was his soft stance on gun control, with Clinton saying gun violence has “gone on too long.”
Sanders said he didn’t vote in favor of Capitol Hill legislation that punished gun manufactures, arguing it was “large and complicated” and also would have unfairly punished law-abiding, small gun-shop owners in his home state of Vermont.
“I voted against it,” said Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner and a former U.S. senator from New York. “I was in the Senate at the same time. It wasn't that complicated to me. It was pretty straightforward to me that he was going to give immunity to the only industry in America.”
She also pointed out that Sanders voted against the Brady Bill gun-control legislation five times.
O’Malley argued he passed tougher gun-control laws as a Maryland governor, in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school massacre, saying he did it in a state with large rural districts inhabited by many gun-owners.
“Have you ever been to the Eastern Shore?” O’Malley asked. “Have you ever been to western Maryland? … I have an F from the NRA.”
Sanders repeated several times during the exchange that he represents a “rural state,” and said directly to O’Malley, “You have not been in the United States Congress. And when you want to, check it out. If you think that we can simply go forward and pass something tomorrow without bringing people together, you are sorely mistaken.”
The Vermont Independent, who is running second in the Democratic primary field also said: “Bernie Sanders has a D-minus voting rating from the NRA. … Do I think that a gun shop in the state of Vermont that sells legally a gun to somebody and that somebody goes out and does something crazy, that that gun shop owner should be held responsible? I don't.”